Say goodbye to winter and hello to spring with a good old fashioned clean-up! Get a jump on your spring cleaning strategy with these 5 helpful reminders:
De-clutter: Removing clutter from your living environment is not just great for preventing falls, but is also good for peace of mind and quite possibly, your bank account.
- 1 in 3 seniors over 65 will experience a fall. Prevent falls and potential life-threatening injuries by removing unnecessary obstacles and trip-hazards like rugs with curled up corners, larger pieces of furniture no longer in use, and appliances or machines with cords that sit on the floor.
- Relieving your space of items that embody stress, regret or anxiety for you can help foster a more peaceful and happy living environment. As you seek to minimize the amount of “stuff” in your home this spring, ask yourself questions like “does this bring me joy?” and “have I used this in the past year?” Your answers will help you make quick decisions on what to keep and what to lose.
- Donate gently-used items from clothes, to books, appliances and furniture to a charity re-store and receive a tax deduction. Or sell items online on eBay or Craigslist to make a little extra cash for the ol’ retirement fund.
Reassess stairs & entryways: As you navigate your home in cleaning mode, take note of any trouble you are having with trickier environments like stairs, bath entryways, and doorways. Are you experiencing regular fatigue, falls, or difficulty with any of them?
A mobility aid or assistive device may be just the support you need to keep moving and remain in your home as you age. Decorative walking canes can put you in the springtime mood and provide support and stability for getting up and down stairs, while safety rails and chair lifts can make entering and exiting the bath or shower much safer. Make notes while you spring clean and talk to your healthcare provider about what assistive tools and devices might be available to you.
Monitor your medicine: Clear out, inventory and straighten up your medicine cabinet. Get rid of potential health hazards like expired medicines and prescriptions you no longer use by taking them to a community drug “take back” program or by following any instructions listed on the medicine itself.
Most medicines can be thrown in the trash, but the FDA does have recommendations for more proper disposal that helps keep your identity and the environment safe. Also remember to keep your medicines stored in a cool, dry place – typically the bathroom is not the best solution.
Plan for emergencies: Incorporate fire safety and emergency planning into your spring cleaning time by:
- Checking that your fire extinguisher is not expired or in need of a recharge
- Testing smoke alarms for live and active batteries
- Making sure emergency numbers are either programmed into your phone and/or listed somewhere accessible
- Compiling an up to date list of any and all medications you are taking that can be shared quickly with EMT’S in case of a health emergency
- Verifying an Emergency Kit is filled and accessible – include items like bottles of water, flashlight, batteries, non-perishable snacks, First Aid items, and a blanket.
Don’t overdo It: It can be easy to get caught up bending over, stooping, reaching and extending yourself for hours when on a cleaning mission. Spring cleaning can take its toll if you’re not careful. Avoid moving large and heavy items yourself, and don’t be weary of asking for help! Friends, neighbors, family – ask them to pitch in to not only lighten the load, but give you time to interact socially and finish a project together.
Remember, spring cleaning doesn’t need to happen in a day, or even a week for that matter. Take your time, stay organized, ask for help, and don’t forget to embrace the rejuvenation spring has to offer both you and your home.